Comprehensive, Compassionate And Results-Driven Representation

Military divorce: what you need to know about the 10/10 rule

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Divorce |

Military personnel going through a divorce and now dividing assets may wonder if their former spouse is eligible to receive a part of their retirement benefits.  Like any divorce, this is a complicated situation, but in military divorces, there are additional factors and special rules like the 10/10 rule. 

Can my ex take my retirement benefits?  

If you are a government worker or enlisted in the military, you are eligible for a pension or defined plans that offer an ensured fixed monthly payment upon retirement. But after a divorce, is your pension included in the division of assets?  

The answer to this is tricky, and it varies based on the length of marriage and military service. 

For instance, according to the 10/10 rule, spouses must have at least 10 years of marriage overlapping with 10 actual years of military service by the service member rendered to be eligible for direct payments from the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) that are considered ‘property award’.  

However, it is crucial to note that even if you do not meet the 10/10 rule requirements, parties can still receive direct payments from the military or other means through other property division strategies. 

The 10/10 rule vs. the 20/20/20 rule  

Aside from a pension plan, former spouses may also be eligible for other military benefits such as health insurance, healthcare and commissary privileges, but this may depend on the 20/20/20 rule. Here, a couple must have 20 years of marriage overlapping with 20 years of military service and at least 20 years of retirement-creditable service. 

There are other factors to consider when it comes to the division of a military personnel’s retirement plan benefits. It is quite a complex situation, and the outcomes will vary from case to case. It can be wise to consult legal professionals before deciding on financial settlements after a divorce to give you a clearer and bigger picture of what to expect.